Special Forces Gear Logo
Monthly Newsletter
June 2013  
In This Issue
Dave's Message
Voice of the Soldier
Word of Truth
The Blue Warrior
Combat Survival
Leading Concepts
Warrior's Wisdom
Aesop's Fables
Embroidered Items
Featured T-Shirts
Special Product Coupon
Quotes & Jokes
Off Duty Apparel
Tactical Gear
Outdoor Recreational Gear
Featured Watches
What Has Really Changed?
Special Product Coupon

Newsletter Archive
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012

Customer Comments
I am a Cpl. in the Army and just returned from Iraq. I carried my shotgun all year on my back in your shotgun scabbard, and it worked great! I was glad to have it around several times, and it proved to be an easy way to keep the shotgun handy for the squad. Thanks for your great product, and for your support of our troops!!

Cpl. C.R. [omitted]
36th Infantry Div.

Got the T-shirt....IT ROCKS!!!!

Thanks guys
kelly [omitted]

Dear Sir, The Falcon Chest Harness finally arrived to me at Camp Taji, Iraq. Thank You! It is now set up for fitting over my IOTV and Battle Ready!!!

[name omitted]

(already the guys are asking who to order one from, so you might be getting a few more requests!!!).

Dear SF company.

Thank-you for sending another t-shirt it looks great the boys in the unit will want one when they see it. I'll be sending them right to you.

Thanks again.

Another happy customer
Bob Miller

When I was stationed at Camp Pendleton I was in Weapons Company 3/5. The unit made us t-shirts with the 3/5 logo/emblem/crest, "Consumate Professionals". I was honorable discharged in 1999 and the t-shirt has been long-gone. I searched a couple of web site to find a shirt with the logo/emblem/crest but there was no luck. It didn't take me long to search this site before I found what I was looking for. When the shirt arrived it was better than what I expected. I love the t-shirt and wear it with pride and often. Thank you SpecialForces.com

Most Sincerely,
Bryan P.

Thank you!!!

Your Shirts are the best.


Dear SFG,

Thank you for being so prompt with my order, and the refund as well.

I thought a little constructive thoughts were in order.

The "HRT" boot knife is well constructed. I had to "hone" the edge though, both sides,to get it up to spec.

As for the "GI USMC Combat Knife"......Well, it wasn't really a K-Bar, at least not one that I've ever seen. It read "US", and above that it read "Ontario". No worries though, after I used a ceramic sharpening stone on both the small back edge and the full length edge, I'm quite pleased with them both. Oh, I almost forgot, both were very pretty well balanced.

I'll be purchasing again from you in the near future.

Ed Whiteside

Dear Special Forces

I received my order i have to say that is better than i expected! Thank you and you'll hear fom me soon.


They turned out GREAT!!!!!! Thanks. I will be back for other things.


Thanks Folks. As always you have been most polite and professional. Best wishes for a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Jack And Melanie Edgar


OMG! That looks awesome! Is there any logo on the front? Can I buy these off the website? I'm sure a lot of SWCC guys are going to want these!

Thank you,

Amanda Van Every


We love the art work. They are awesome. I'll be ordering mine right after this. Thanks for all the work. I am recommending you guys to all the other battalions and ODA's.



Just to let you know all items have been recieved, fantastic quality as all ways.

Cheers Andrew and best wishes for the New Year.

Welcome to the new Special Forces Gear News Letter! Each month we send out a lot of information and great deals, and to make it easier to read, we've written a summary of the longer articles in this email.

Dave's Message


He told the red man's story; far and wide
He searched the unwritten annals of his race;
He sat a listener at the Sachem's side,
He tracked the hunter through his wild-wood chase.

High o'er his head the soaring eagle screamed;
The wolfs long howl rang nightly; through the vale
Tramped the lone bear; the panther's eyeballs gleamed;
The bison's gallop thundered on the gale.

Soon o'er the horizon rose the cloud of strife,
Two proud, strong nations battling for the prize:
Which swarming host should mould a nation's life;
Which royal banner flout the western skies.

Long raged the conflict; on the crimson sod
Native and alien joined their hosts in vain;
The lilies withered where the lion trod,
Till Peace lay panting on the ravaged plain.

A nobler task was theirs who strove to win
The blood-stained heathen to the Christian fold;
To free from Satan's clutch the slaves of sin;
These labors, too, with loving grace he told.

Halting with feeble step, or bending o'er
The sweet-breathed roses which he loved so well,
While through long years his burdening cross he bore,
From those firm lips no coward accents fell.

A brave bright memory! His the stainless shield
No shame defaces and no envy mars!
When our far future's record is unsealed,
His name will shine among its morning stars.

The stories in this volume deal, for the most part, with single actions, generally with deeds of war and feats of arms. In this one I desire to give if possible the impression, for it can be no more than an impression, of a life which in its conflicts and its victories manifested throughout heroic qualities. Such qualities can be shown in many ways, and the field of battle is only one of the fields of human endeavor where heroism can be displayed.

Francis Parkman was born in Boston on September 16, 1822. He came of a well-known family, and was of a good Puritan stock. He was rather a delicate boy, with an extremely active mind and of a highly sensitive, nervous organization. Into everything that attracted him he threw himself with feverish energy. His first passion, when he was only about twelve years old, was for chemistry, and his eager boyish experiments in this direction were undoubtedly injurious to his health. The interest in chemistry was succeeded by a passion for the woods and the wilderness, and out of this came the longing to write the history of the men of the wilderness, and of the great struggle between France and England for the control of the North American continent. All through his college career this desire was with him, and while in secret he was reading widely to prepare himself for his task, he also spent a great deal of time in the forests and on the mountains. To quote his own words, he was "fond of hardships, and he was vain of during them, cherishing a sovereign scorn for every physical weakness or defect; but deceived, moreover, by the rapid development of frame and sinew, which flattered him into the belief that discipline sufficiently unsparing would harden him into an athlete, he slighted the precautions of a more reasonable woodcraft, tired old foresters with long marches, stopped neither for heat nor for rain, and slept on the earth without blankets." The result was that his intense energy carried him beyond his strength, and while his muscles strengthened and hardened, his sensitive nervous organization began to give way. It was not merely because he led an active outdoor life. He himself protests against any such conclusion, and says that "if any pale student glued to his desk here seek an apology for a way of life whose natural fruit is that pallid and emasculate scholarship, of which New England has had too many examples, it will be far better that this sketch had not been written. For the student there is, in its season, no better place than the saddle, and no better companion than the rifle or the oar."

The evil that was done was due to Parkman's highly irritable organism, which spurred him to excess in everything he undertook. The first special sign of the mischief he was doing to himself and his health appeared in a weakness of sight. It was essential to his plan of historical work to study not only books and records but Indian life from the inside. Therefore, having graduated from college and the law-school, he felt that the time had come for this investigation, which would enable him to gather material for his history and at the same time to rest his eyes. He went to the Rocky Mountains, and after great hardships, living in the saddle, as he said, with weakness and pain, he joined a band of Ogallalla Indians. With them he remained despite his physical suffering, and from them he learned, as he could not have learned in any other way, what Indian life really was.

The immediate result of the journey was his first book, instinct with the freshness and wildness of the mountains and the prairies, and called by him "The Oregon Trail." Unfortunately, the book was not the only outcome. The illness incurred during his journey from fatigue and exposure was followed by other disorders. The light of the sun became insupportable, and his nervous system was entirely deranged. His sight was now so impaired that he was almost blind, and could neither read nor write. It was a terrible prospect for a brilliant and ambitious man, but Parkman faced it unflinchingly. He devised a frame by which he could write with closed eyes, and books and manuscripts were read to him. In this way he began the history of  "The Conspiracy of Pontiac," and for the first half-year the rate of composition covered about six lines a day. His courage was rewarded by an improvement in his health, and a little more quiet in nerves and brain. In two and a half years he managed to complete the book. He then entered on his great subject of "France in the New World." The material was mostly in manuscript, and had to be examined, gathered, and selected in Europe and in Canada. He could not read, he could write only a very little and that with difficulty, and yet he pressed on. He slowly collected his material and digested and arranged it, using the eyes of others to do that which he could not do himself, and always on the verge of a complete breakdown of mind and body. In 1851 he had an effusion of water on the left knee, which stopped his outdoor exercise, on which he had always largely depended. All the irritability of the system then centered in the head, resulting in intense pain and in a restless and devouring activity of thought. He himself says: "The whirl, the confusion, and strange, undefined tortures attending this condition are only to be conceived by one who has felt them." The resources of surgery and medicine were exhausted in vain. The trouble in the head and eyes constantly recurred. In 1858 there came a period when for four years he was incapable of the slightest mental application, and the attacks varied in duration from four hours to as many months. When the pressure was lightened a little he went back to his work. When work was impossible, he turned to horticulture, grew roses, and wrote a book about the cultivation of those flowers which is a standard authority.

As he grew older the attacks moderated, although they never departed. Sleeplessness pursued him always, the slightest excitement would deprive him of the power of exertion, his sight was always sensitive, and at times he was bordering on blindness. In this hard-pressed way he fought the battle of life. He says himself that his books took four times as long to prepare and write as if he had been strong and able to use his faculties. That this should have been the case is little wonder, for those books came into being with failing sight and shattered nerves, with sleeplessness and pain, and the menace of insanity ever hanging over the brave man who, nevertheless, carried them through to an end.

Yet the result of those fifty years, even in amount, is a noble one, and would have been great achievement for a man who had never known a sick day. In quality, and subject, and method of narration, they leave little to be desired. There, in Parkman's volumes, is told vividly, strongly, and truthfully, the history of the great struggle between France and England for the mastery of the North American continent, one of the most important events of modern times. This is not the place to give any critical estimate of Mr. Parkman's work. It is enough to say that it stands in the front rank. It is a great contribution to history, and a still greater gift to the literature of this country. All Americans certainly should read the volumes in which Parkman has told that wonderful story of hardship and adventure, of fighting and of statesmanship, which gave this great continent to the English race and the English speech. But better than the literature or the history is the heroic spirit of the man, which triumphed over pain and all other physical obstacles, and brought a work of such value to his country and his time into existence. There is a great lesson as well as a lofty example in such a career, and in the service which such a man rendered by his life and work to literature and to his country. On the tomb of the conqueror of Quebec it is written: "Here lies Wolfe victorious." The same epitaph might with entire justice be carved above the grave of Wolfe's historian.
Story by Teddy Roosevelt


Click here to send Dave a private message. 


Voice of the Soldier
This section is designed to give you a voice where you can express opinions or give messages. We encourage you to speak out! Send us your commentary, stories, articles, etc...

Special Operations Warrior Foundation

Special Operations Warrior Foundation
Special Forces Gear is now hosting
a special section for the Special Operations Warrior Foundation.

The Special Operations Warrior Foundation (SOWF) provides college scholarship grants, along with financial aid and educational counseling, to the children of Special Operations personnel who were killed in an operational mission or training accident.

All profits from these items go to the
Special Operations Warrior Foundation


Learn More about the 

Special Operations Warrior Foundation (SOWF) >>  

Warrior Brotherhood Veterans Motorcycle Club

  311 iran ship 

The Warrior Brotherhood Veterans Motorcycle Club is a not-for-profit (501c3) fraternal organization. It was formed to provide a fraternal organization for qualified military veterans who have served, or are currently serving, in the Armed Forces of the United States or US Allied Nations.  They support Veterans and Active Duty Members in many different ways.  A few of the many causes projects they support are: mailing over 900lbs of care packages to Active Duty Service Members Monthly to Visiting Veterans Homes to put a smile on a Veterans Face.  Please visit them at  www.warriorbrotherhood.com


All profits from these items are donated to

Warrior Brotherhood Veterans Motorcycle Club 


Learn More about the Warrior Brotherhood Veterans
Motorcycle Club >>

Caring for America's Quiet 311 iran shipProfessionals 


The Green Beret Foundation provides unconventional resources to facilitate the special needs of our wounded, ill and injured and imparts unique support to the Special Forces community in order to strengthen readiness and uphold Green Beret traditions and values.


Learn more about Green Beret Foundation>> 




Top 100 Songs of The Vietnam Era

Air Force Academy Commencement 2013



Good friends of ours from here in Elizabethtown, KY just got back home from a visit to the Air Force Academy,  in Colorado Springs where they attended the commencement exercises of the graduating class of 2013.  In fact John's grandson was one of the graduates and John, being a retired US Army officer was able to swear in his grandson as a brand spanking new US Air Force 2Lt. 


What an honor that must have been for John and his family, but that's not the real story nor is it the historic significance of the 2013 commencement celebration.  You see 2013 is the first Air Force graduation on record that has occurred under a Sequester created by a non-functioning Congress and an unyielding Obama Administration.  Due to operating under this Sequester the ceremonies proceeded as follows:


President Obama regretfully declined the kind invitation of the Commandant of the Air Force Academy to be speak to the graduates and their families on the occasion of their graduation saying he was committed to addressing the graduates at West Point.  Instead it was established that Vice President Biden was free and he would come to Colorado Springs.  And, as to the request for the usual fly-over by the US Air Force Thunderbirds that was declined again due to the Sequester.


After consultation with his chain of command the Commandant of the Air Force Academy notified the White House that due to the Sequester cancelling the traditional fly-over of the Thunderbirds that he was confident that the nation didn't need the added $1 million + expense to fly Air Force 2, of any configuration or model, and the added expense of the Secret Service and their entourage required when the Vice President traveled.  So just cancel the initial request for a speaker from the White House for the commencement.


So the commencement went off as planned sans representation from the Obama Administration.  It looked like this:

The featured speaker was an Under Secretary of the Air Force, who is a decorated Viet Nam veteran.  The Secretary flew back and forth from Andrews AFB to Peterson AFB In Colorado Springs on routine training flight conducted by the Air Force thus costing the American tax payers nothing. 


John tells me that there were nearly as many Air Force General Officers in attendance as there were family members.  He thinks a dozen or more 4 Star General, three or four times as many 2 and 3 Stars an untold number of 1 Star Generals.  And, of course countless Colonels and below.


Most of these officers were themselves alumni of the Air Force Academy and wanted nothing less than to present a perfect program for the graduating class.  Since the Congress and the Obama Administration could not see fit to allow for a fly-over by the Thunderbirds, a number of the senior generals took matters into their own hands.  And so, when the speeches, the hats were all thrown into the air, and all the family hugs were all made and it became time for the fly-over a roar of engines was detected from the West of the air strip and parade grounds there at the facility and everyone was treated to a fly-over by the Confederate Air Force.  Looking up they saw all kinds of vintage aircraft from B-17s B-24s, B-25s, P-38s, P-51s and others all represented by manufactures such Corsairs, Grumman, Lockheed and Boeing who still provide parts availability for these aircraft, and flown by our hero's from prior conflicts that still see fit to stay active for services such as this.  It was a wonderful experience for all who were there.


I am sure you will join me in offering a salute to these serving officers who saw fit not to rob the 2013 graduating class of their day of celebration, and to our heroes who flew the planes for this worthy occasion and oh yes to the many private donors who pitched in and covered the expenses involved in bringing these aircraft in to Colorado Springs from various locations across the country.




New! Direct to Garment Printing.
DTG Printing on Performance Apparel

We are excited to announce our newest advance in Direct to Garment printing on Performance Apparel. We are now able to print direct to moisture-wicking Polyester Garments. You can now personalize and print your favorite design to Athletic Apparel, running shorts, under armor and dry release apparel.

The quality of this printing is unmatched able to hold fine details and shading screen printing can't.


Direct to Garment Printing - SpecialForces.com
Direct to Garment Printing - SpecialForces.com

I'm Putting Up the Flag
I'm Putting Up the Flag
Unmanned X-47B Killer Drone Catapult Launch From Aircraft Carrier-A Milestone in Naval Aviation
Unmanned X-47B Killer Drone Catapult Launch From Aircraft Carrier-A Milestone in Naval Aviation
French Reconnaissance Mission During Opération Serval   youtube
French Reconnaissance Mission During Operation Serval
Breaking ice on the Penobscot River
Breaking ice on the Penobscot River

Word of Truth 

Spiritual Life or Bitterness

The Word Of Truth - Alive and PowerfulBy Rev G.J. Rako
LTC (Ret)

Bitterness manifests itself in anger, hatred, jealousy, revenge, maligning, judging, gossip, self- justification, self-deception, self-centeredness, self-pity, implacability, and malice.  To be blunt and cut through the bovine defecation (BS), this is arrogance.  Bitterness is the quickest way to destroy relationships; human relationships, and more importantly your relationship with the creator of the universe.

Rom 12:2-3, "Stop being conformed to the trends of this age, but be transformed by the renovation of your thinking, that you may prove what the will of God is: the good, the acceptable to God, the complete.  For I say through the grace which has been given to me to everyone who is among you, stop thinking of self in terms of arrogance beyond what you ought to think, but think in terms of sanity as God has assigned to each one of us a standard of thinking from doctrine."

Eph 4:31, "All bitterness, both anger and wrath both quarreling and slander, must be removed from you, along with all malice."

Col 3:19, "Husbands, love your wives, and stop being bitter against them.

Bitter people are miserable people.  They destroy their relationships by the various manifestations of bitterness directed toward those they are closest.  They cannot have a relationship with the Lord because they are consistently in carnality.  They do not confess their sins because in their self-deception and self-justification they believe they have not sinned resulting in self-righteousness.  Therefore, they ignore the command found in I John 1:9, and by doing so, they have effectively destroyed their spiritual life.

I John 1:9 If we (believers in Christ) confess our sins to Him (God the Father), He is faithful (He does the same thing over, and over again) and justified (because Christ paid for these sins on the cross) to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

By confessing our sins to God the Father, we appropriate His solution to sin in our lives by grace. Grace means God does the work and we can in no way take credit for His perfect work. Confession of our sins is the only way to be filled with the Holy Spirit, the only way to have fellowship with God. The bitter person will not confess his sins because in his self-justification, he is always right and everyone else is wrong. Therefore, he has no sins to confess. This is self-deception and perpetual carnality.
Hence, the destruction of the spiritual life is complete.

You may find yourself as the object of someone's bitterness.  The immediate tendency is to react.  Reaction to hatred, anger, vilification, jealousy and the rest of bitterness' manifestations is also sin.  This reaction removes you from fellowship with God.  It is a test of your spiritual growth.  Unjust treatment by others is always a temptation to sin.  The reaction itself is the sin of arrogance and by it we "think more highly of ourselves than we ought."

Rom 12:3  For I say through the grace which has been given to me to everyone who is among you, stop thinking of self in terms of arrogance beyond what you ought to think, but think in terms of sanity as God has assigned to each one of us a standard of thinking from doctrine."

Bitterness is contagious like a cancer and causes those near to become defiled with sin.

Heb 12:15, "See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God and that no root of bitterness springing up cause [you] trouble, and by it many are contaminated."

The solution for the believer in Christ under attack by bitterness is found in many passages of scripture.

Eph 4:32, "But become gracious toward one another, compassionate, and forgiving each other, just as God also by means of Christ has forgiven us."

Rom 12:17-19  Never pay back evil with evil to anyone.  Respect what is right in the eyes of all men.  If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.  Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, "Vengeance is mine, says the Lord, I will repay."

We remain on earth after salvation to glorify God.  God is glorified when He can use us for His purpose on earth.  He cannot use us unless we fulfill the command to "Grow in grace and the knowledge of our Lord and savior Jesus Christ" (II Peter 3:18).  We are to grow in all aspects of Him who is the head, that is Christ (Eph 4:14-15).

Eph 4:13  Until we all attain the to the unity of doctrine, and the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.

We are to execute the unique spiritual life of the church age by advancing to spiritual maturity.  By doing so, our relationship with the Lord is strengthened by doctrine circulating in the right lobe of our soul.  Our gratitude towards God is maximized and we personally begin to love God.  God blesses us in this life, rewards us in eternity, and provides opportunities to express our personal love for Him, impersonal love for all mankind, and our gratitude for all that He has provided for us when we grow spiritually.  There is no room for bitterness in our lives.  Bitterness is perpetual carnality.
Carnality and spirituality cannot co-exist.  You are either spiritual (filled with the Holy Spirit) or carnal (grieving or quenching the Holy Spirit; Eph 4:30). 

If you are an unbeliever, the only issue is the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Jesus Christ as eternal God became a man, perfect in everyway, born without sin.  He was the perfect Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world (John 1:29).  Jesus Christ lived a perfect life without one act of personal sin.  He went to the cross where God the Father poured out on Him every sin past, present, and future of everyone.  God the Father then judged those sins in His (Jesus Christ) own body on the cross.
When Jesus died spiritually for every sin ever committed, his work was complete and He said "Finished" salvation was complete.  He accomplished all the work.  All we can do to appropriate this so great salvation is to believe in Him.

Acts 16:31 Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved.
John 1:12 But as many as received Him to them He gave the power to become sons of God, to those that believe on His name.
John 3:15 so that whoever believes in Him will have eternal life.
John 3:16 For God loved the world so much that He gave His uniquely born Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.
John 3:36a He who believes in the Son has eternal life...
John 14:6 Jesus says, "I am the way, the truth, and the life, no man comes to the father but, by me.
Acts 4:12 And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men whereby we must be saved.
Eph 2:8-9 For by grace we have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves it is a gift of God, not as a result of works so that no man can boast.

God demands perfection.  The humanity of Christ was perfect.  Therefore, God can only be satisfied with the work of Christ.  There is nothing we can do to please God.  That is why faith alone in Christ alone is the only way of salvation.  When we believe in Christ, God gives us forty things.  One of these is the imputation of God's perfect righteousness.  We are therefore completely justified by the work of Christ on the cross.  He took our place.  He was our substitute.  He died so that we may live.  Another of the forty is the imputation of God's very own life.  The moment we believe in Christ God gives us eternal life.  We have His life; we will live with God forever.

The choice is yours accept the gift of salvation by faith in Christ and have life or face eternal condemnation.

John 3:36  He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey [the command to believe in] the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.

Blue Warrior
Blue WarriorBlue Warrior

Tactical teams across the country spend much time, money and effort preparing to battle future adversaries. Many teams have armored vehicles, modern weapon systems and train frequently. At first glance these teams look high speed and capable of handling any given tactical situation. However, have you ever witnessed a team on a call out or at a training event get bogged down because they can't effect an entry into their target location? This occurs more than it should and we can all avoid that embarrassing situation by placing an emphasis on breaching operations.


Breaching refers to making forced entry into an adversary's stronghold. Tactical teams may breach a door, wall or window to allow for a point of entry so they can achieve their tactical objectives.


Three common types of breaching in law enforcement include:


Mechanical Breaching: breaching tactics that include using various techniques such as lock picking, pry bars, halligan bars, rams, hydraulic and pneumatic wedge devices. Typically these tactics will force a door open by prying a door open or striking a door so that it fails and opens.


Ballistic Breaching: although there are several options for ballistic breaching techniques the most common in Law Enforcement is the use of a shotgun and a frangible round. The breaching shotgun is used to destroy a lock with its frangible round, providing a quick and safe entry in most cases.


Explosive Breaching: there are many and various types of explosive materials used for explosive breaching but explosives such as C-4, C-2 and Detonation cord to gain entry are common with highly skilled SWAT operators trained in their use.




Gathering intelligence on your objective prior to deployment is critical for a successful breach. Your tactical leaders should always consider the barriers your team will face and calculate that problem into the operations plan prior to deployment. Intelligence can provide which way a door opens, what type of material a door is made of, the types of locks used, etc. This intell is vital for the breacher and team leaders to determine which breaching option they will utilize to gain entry.


Making breaching tools accessible to the uniformed officer is a great way to allow first responders to gain entry during an immediate crises such as an active shooter. Squad cars equipped with mechanical breaching tools such as rams and halligen bars that are quickly accessed may be very useful to the uniformed officer. Many agencies even have ballistic breaching shotguns available on the street for such a crisis.






The explosive breaching tactic in law enforcement gained its popularity in the mid 1990s and has increasingly become a part of many tactical teams breaching options. The basic concept is simple, apply explosives to your target objective and gain entry quickly. However, the tactic is very complex and requires an extensive amount of training.


There are many reasons for the need of rigorous training for the explosive breacher. Explosive breaching is a non-lethal force option, therefore explosive breachers tasked with the objective to effect an entry have to consider the safety of the innocent persons inside the stronghold, the safety of the suspect and the safety of the tactical officers conducting the operation.


The explosive breacher will need to put together a detailed and well-calculated plan using intelligence of the objective and target site. The swat counter snipers and swat scouts will be instrumental in providing the intelligence that the explosive breacher needs to develop a successful plan.


Once the intelligence is analyzed the explosive breaching will calculate the minimum amount of explosives needed to gain entry into a designated target without harming occupants inside the stronghold or the officers involved in the entry. This is done by a mathematical application requiring the explosive breacher to calculate the internal target and exterior target overpressures.


I have had the opportunity to explosive breach dozens of objectives in real world SWAT operations. What I have experienced is that many breaching operations require nothing more than defeating the doorknobs or door hinges from the target objective.


A successful door breach as mentioned should precisely cut the doorknob or hinges from the door and they should fall within a couple feet from the doorframe, therefore producing a non-lethal projectile inside the target.




Choosing the proper time for explosive breaching is critical. The explosive breach should only be utilized as the last option in your tactical planning. However, that doesn't mean you should attempt the other methods of breaching before using the explosive option. If your tactical team is conducting a search warrant operation and the suspect has a violent criminal past and is known to have an assault weapon in his home or apartment, then deploying a mechanical ram places your breaching in harm's way and telegraphs your presence as he strikes the door. The explosive breach is very quick, safe and provides disruption with your adversaries OODA loop causing a momentary response as he processes what is occurring. I like to deploy flash bangs, upon entry also to further disrupt the suspect's response, after the explosive breach if the situation warrants. This technique amounts to an "overwhelming amount of dominating force" inside the objective. Something I try to achieve on any tactical operation.


Hostage rescue operations can be a nasty challenge. The explosive breacher may be able to effect an entry through any concrete wall or dry wall inside the stronghold near the hostages. A distraction devise or ruse may be used to draw attention away from the targeted entry wall or door while the entry team makes an explosive entry into the objective. In this example the explosive breach will put the team inside the objective very quickly and on top of the hostage, even if it's a brick wall. The concussion from the explosives will buy your operators valuable seconds to gain control of the hostages and neutralize the suspects. Most importantly in my opinion is the safety of the swat officers conducting the entry. These officers will have the advantage of approaching the target in a stealth manner and place the charge undetected. This tactic is far superior to a mechanical breach given the circumstances.


Explosive breaching isn't just for hostage rescues. If your team is tasked to make a forced entry during a barricaded gunman incident then the same rules apply. A barricaded gunman waiting for officers to enter his stronghold has a serious advantage. If you want to take that advantage away from the suspect then conduct two or more explosive breaches simultaneously when effecting the entry. I will on occasion conduct an explosive breach on a door, wall or window, on a barricaded gunmen situation, providing it can be done safely, and then withdraw from the breached door, window or wall. The goal is to take away barriers from the barricaded suspect and provide a limited penetration in the suspect's stronghold. This tactic may come in handy if we have no choice later in the crisis and have to conduct a crisis entry. What often happens however, is a barricaded gunman or armed suicidal subjects will reevaluate their desire to combat our tactical team and surrender. A peaceful resolution is paramount and my first priority on all tactical calls for service.  




With the explosive breaching capability comes responsibility at all levels involved with the program. Your agency must have comprehensive written policies and procedures. The management of the program is crucial to avoid civil litigation. Training your explosive breachers will include at a minimum a basic explosive handling course, basic explosive entry course and an advanced explosive breaching course. Also, your team must train using the explosive breaching tactics on a regular basis.


Developing a reputable explosive breaching program in your agency is one of the safest tactics you can provide your swat operators. This tactic can save lives including the innocents or criminals involved in the crises. However, your SWAT operators must be proficient in all areas of breaching including mechanical and ballistic.




Stay safe,
Sgt. Glenn French  

About the author

Glenn French, a Sergeant with the Sterling Heights (Mich.) Police Department, has 22 years police experience and currently serves as the Team Commander for the Special Response Team, and Sergeant of the Sterling Heights Police Department Training Bureau. He has 14 years SWAT experience and served as a Sniper Team Leader, REACT Team Leader, and Explosive Breacher.


He is the author of the award-winning book "Police Tactical Life Saver" which has been named the 2012 Public Safety Writers Association Technical Manual of the year. Glenn is also the President of www.tacticallifesaver.org.


Glenn has instructed basic and advanced SWAT / Tactical officer courses, basic and advanced Sniper courses, Cold Weather / Winter Sniper  Operations and Active Shooter Response courses, Tactical Lifesaver Course and others. Sgt French served in the U.S. Army. During his military tenure Sgt French gained valuable experience in C.Q.B., infantry tactics and explosive breaching operations.


Survival and Disaster Preparedness



In many, actually in most, attack scenarios, disasters or collapse scenarios bugging out may not be necessary or even prudent; in these cases people should plan on sheltering-in-place or bugging in. Bugging in may be sheltering where you already are, or traveling a short, pre-plotted distance to your bug in location (BIL), for most this will typically your home or maybe even a family farm or ranch. There are many advantages to bugging-in, the greatest of these being that you don't have to carry all the necessities for survival on your back. In several of my past articles I've talked about how most people aren't ready to survive out of a backpack for an extended number of days (10+) and while there are some of us that could pull it off, and are used to lugging around a 50-60lb pack with a gun and some ammo, our spouses and children more than likely couldn't do it. It's just not the way we train and that is a fundamental flaw in the plans of most of those thinking about bugging out or simply surviving off grid when the stuff hits the fan.


When bugging in, you must plan/provide for your basic needs (food,  water, and shelter) without counting on external supports like electricity and running water or modern conveniences like flushing toilets and microwaves. Even given these minor limitations, it should be a relatively simple thing for most people to prepare for a bug-in lasting 7 days, or longer. Stock up on those $1.00 solar landscape lights and you'll have lights when you need them; dig yourself an outhouse pit now and build the house over it, close the pit and use it as yard art until the time comes when you need it. The biggest issue is already taken care of; shelter. You're at home; you have all or most of your clothes and all your gear at hand. If you have been preparing properly, you should have stocked at least 90 plus days (I recommend 1 year) of ready to eat or easily prepared food and an ample store of water. You're hot water heater will hold 30-50+ gallons of additional water and the pipes in your house perhaps an additional 1-4 gallons depending on the home. Should this be a life altering scenario, such a Zombie invasion, economic collapse or massive natural disaster; you will want to be prepared to start gardening and heating your home as well. Home Security will then become a greater issue because people that see you heating the house and staying in for the most part will quickly realize you have what they need and they'll come for it.


The drawback of bugging-in is that you grow reluctant to leave your home and it could be the place you have to make your last stand. So, at the onset of a major ordeal; when you know it's coming or just after it happens don't hesitate to get out there and board up your windows leaving just enough room to get your shotgun barrel out. Have some interior barricades ready to keep people from caving in your points of entry or exit and if at all possible have a contingency plan in place that family is familiar with in case you need to make a get away from the house. Know where you will meet up and have a bug-out bag ready to go for just that purpose. Whatever your plans- keep them realistic and practical for everyone in your family or group. Remember if you're planning on pushing grandma up the mountain with a rifle and a 40lb pack on, she's probably not going to be able to do it; so plan around that. Enjoy your prepping and survival training; get everyone involved now while you can so that when the time comes to depend on those skills, they'll be second nature.





About the author:
Jason Hunt is the President of Frontier Christian University a school that equips people in Biblical survival and preparedness ministries and he's the Chief Instructor at Hunt Survival, Inc. a survival & preparedness training company. He's also the author of The Tribulation Survival Guide.


Leading Concepts
Key to Success

Ranger TLC-

Teamwork, Leadership, and Communication


Chapter 4 





AS  "friendly" and to be wary of people who look different. Rangers of all ranks must suppress that impulse toward every newbie as he enters camp. Rangers identify an ally, or a teammate, by action, not by physical appearance; in other words, by performance on a mission that is consistent with commitment to the Ranger Creed.

During my time as a Ranger, one of the newbies who came in just after me was black and so was my boss, Specialist Felder. One day, the new  guy approached Felder in the hallway. Just as I stepped into the hallway, I saw the new Ranger gesture to my boss in a kind of "Hey, brother" sign. Felder took two steps, and then he stopped, turned around, and went ballistic: "We don't do that crap here! We don't play that game!" For the next hour and a half, he had the guy on the floor doing pushups and flutter kicks, conditioning his brain never to say or do anything like that again.Every newbie gets hazed and harassed until he either puts up with it or washes out. No one gets special favors.

Another newbie had tattoos all over his body, and some of them were vile-swastikas and other hate symbols. Tattoos were acceptable as long as they didn't show when the uniform was on. One day early in this newbie's career, a sergeant took him aside and said, "You just make sure those beliefs don't interfere with your work here. We have our own values here." That guy thought about it for a few days, and then he quit. No one forces a soldier to be on a Ranger team; it's always a choice based on commonly held beliefs.

Diversity: The Foundation of an Efficient Team

A team can be formed through the most unlikely of personal alliances, and it can succeed as long as the teammates respect the reason they're together. Someone once asked Thomas Edison why he had a team of twenty-one assistants, and he replied: "If I could solve all the problems myself, I would." His response attests to the fact that people who don't think alike make the most powerful team-as long as they have their eyes on the same goal.

True diversity isn't about color or religious belief; it's about different human interaction skills and knowledge. Don't get caught up in the politically correct ways to experience diversity; recognize that it's an inherent advantage of our humanity. We are all created equal and different.

John Wayne, director of Integrated Benefits Services for Fidelity Investments, went through the Leading Concepts program prior to helping Fidelity launch a business activity that involved a mixed group of experts. The company had long been known for mutual funds and retail services associated with those funds, as well for its retirement business, which mainly administered 401(k) plans for institutions. After spending a few years expanding its service offerings and evolving an integrated suite of services for large institutional customers, Fidelity decided to step boldly into marketing these integrated services to small and medium-size enterprises. They recruited people inside and outside the company to shape and launch this effort. John found himself involved with a very diverse team in systems development, marketing and sales, operations, and client services. He was able to use his LC experience to identify his allies.

For people like me who are predisposed to working in teams, we automatically think that we should measure the cohesiveness of the team by how well we get along in day-to-day work. I've come to realize that's not necessarily why great accomplishments are made or victory is attained. We're proving that, it's more often the case that we've overcome obstacles and conflict. It's in doing that, as a team, that we create substantial achievement.

As in any diverse team, there's a natural tendency to have conflict among the members of the team. Conventional wisdom would say those folks aren't working together well. That's not necessarily true. Like the Rangers, if a team shares common goal and stays focused on the fact that they can't achieve that goal without each other then, with good leadership, the necessary behaviors to get the job done will follow.

Good leaders want to put together a team with diverse skills and talents. Too much homogeneity can lead to stale thinking. Keep in mind that the coworkers you have the least in common with may be your most skillful allies in achieving corporate objectives.

WatchGuard Technologies is a textbook example of the fruits of diversity. WatchGuard, which makes network security devices, began in 1996 as three technical and two financial people meeting in a living room. By 2000, the company had nearly 200 employees and a market cap of $1.6 billion. They distinguished themselves further by hanging on to their ranking as number one in their market space and growing, even through the economic downturn that hit in 2001. In terms of personal style, professional backgrounds, and work habits, the group that grew to seventeen people by the end of the first year would best be described as motley. One of them, who began as a receptionist and later earned the official title "Web Mistress on the Dark IT Applications Team," showed up at work with one electric hair color after another, which was a sharp contrast to the more conservative financial types.Spring of 1997 held several defining moments in the life of the company. Founding CEO Chris Slatt hired an aggressive vice president of sales, Dennis Cloutier, a self-proclaimed "technology agnostic" who had made his reputation selling consumer products. He also brought on a nemesis for him: Mike Martucci, a vice president of marketing who had spent his entire career in high tech. They butted heads with each other and with the engineers and financial folks.

Dennis especially annoyed the engineers because he didn't like their dogs, tents, and sleeping bags in the office. "We live here," they reminded him. "We have nowhere else to keep them." The engineers arranged a wall of furniture between Dennis and the dogs, but the dogs still managed to poke their snouts through the holes.

Throughout the superficial conflicts, the group consistently stayed focused on the deeper issues to accomplish a single, clear mission: Make high-end network security accessible to small and medium-size businesses. Everywhere the staff turned, they couldn't escape hearing about the mission. Their CEO reminded them of it. Their collateral reminded them of it. And the VP of marketing and his staff had done a great job of enticing media and industry analysts to broadcast it, so it was reinforced from the outside. The company's success was built on people knowing when and how they had to be "friends" to accomplish their mission.

In contrast, Kim Rose, the founder and president of a Silicon Valley marketing and public relations firm, has observed that many startups have failed because they never used the diverse talents they hired:

These young companies aggressively recruited different kinds of people so they would have an abundance of creativity. Then they would hire PR and advertising firms known for their creativity. But time after time, I saw unseasoned CEOs-technology geniuses with no ability to bring out the best in people-who just turned around and told all of them, "No. We'll do it my way."

In those types of environments, the company mission statement is merely a bunch of words-an outgoing message with no internal impact.

A Technique to Turn "Aliens" into Allies

A team with diverse skill sets, personalities, and communication styles makes a good 360. Of course, people who offer a radically different perspective from what might be considered conventional or normal may seem more like space aliens than allies at first.

In Ranger-style training, making designated members of the group responsible for observing 90-degree quadrants as the team moves over the terrain yields a complete picture of potential threats and advantages. If Alpha team member Ralph sees a MODD on a search and surveillance mission, he silently motions for the team to stop while he mentally notes the MODD's position as "11 o'clock" or "3 o'clock." Ralph observes the direction of travel and what the MODD is wearing. Another Alpha team member sweeping the quadrant adjacent to Ralph's might spot a three-man tent among the trees. At the same time Bravo team member Sue notes a fresh knife slash on a tree. The Bravo member observing the quadrant next to Sue sees nothing suspicious in her area. When they reach a rally point, by putting their observations together, Team One may well conclude that one MODD was sent ahead to set up camp for a small detail. He marked a tree to indicate where to turn off the trail to find the camp. The others will probably be coming soon with supplies. Based on the information, they design an action plan.

The whole purpose of a 360 is internal security: protecting what you have, the ground you've taken, and the objectives you've accomplished. In your work environment, team members need to be figuratively responsible for "quadrants." One scenario is that all individuals on the team review the entire project plan or operation, but because of a diversity of viewpoints and skills, each one looks at it a little differently. They might as well be physically looking at different quadrants.

During the course of writing this book, I hit a point of frustration with one of my clients. I had just spent an entire day dealing with the politics of an organization-a mix of insecurities, power plays, and ignorance-and felt as if I had accomplished nothing. Fortunately, I have learned how I can use my Ranger experience and stories to expose that frustration for the benefit of my client (as well as my own sanity). I went in fresh the next day and said, "There's a good reason we don't tolerate this game playing in the Rangers. It can get someone killed. There's a good reason we should not tolerate it here, either. Ask yourselves what might die because of how you're acting-a key project, your job, this company?" Whether the bullets are flying literally or figuratively, you have to be able to count on the information, competence, and goal orientation of people around you. It doesn't matter if you don't get along with someone; you still have to watch each other's back and know that each of you is handling your quadrant in the 360. As  Susan Gerke, one of IBM's Leadership Development experts, asserted: "Conflict is inevitable in a team . . . in fact, to achieve synergistic solutions, a variety of ideas and approaches are needed. These are the ingredients for conflict."
Once again, WatchGuard Technologies provides an excellent example of a successful 360.

In the company's start-up phase, the team scouted uncharted territory-personally and for the industry. First, no one on staff had introduced a product that did not previously exist to the market. Second, the distribution strategy that they chose to pursue was totally different from that of other firewall companies. Instead of direct sales, the marketing and sales pros agreed on a channel strategy-a complete reliance on resellers.

Success depended on the engineers and programmers staying aware of security issues and tweaking the product to address new threats and concerns. It depended on the financial officer keeping tabs on how much money was needed and the accountant monitoring how much was spent. Success depended on the marketing team tuning into the network security fears of small and medium-size companies, which were WatchGuard's target market, and on the sales reps listening to resellers communicate their successes and failures in the field. And the 360 could not be complete without PR evaluating the buzz about WatchGuard's market space and the technical support team logging every problem, complaint, and glitch.

A full 360 occurs when a project engages the talents, attention, and expertise of coworkers who are, as the diagram suggests, dissimilar in many ways. A 180 occurs if you're overloaded with certain skills or personalities.Consider the irony of this arrangement: You will have conflict among people who are different. You're not going to get along every minute. Yet, in order to get a full 360, you need to put people together who may have a tough time getting along! By leveraging the differences and getting past the conflict by focusing on the common objective and identifying the external MODD, a diverse staff can achieve success.

Trying to smooth things out through staged bonding experiences and sensitivity training designed to help very different coworkers find similarities is a misdirection of energy.

The first day I got to my Ranger unit, I was with a group of people who were "home." Up until that point, I was in training, so I was always carrying my bags with me. I didn't have much in the way of personal clothing-maybe one pair of jeans and a T-shirt. But these guys who had been in the Ranger unit for so long had settled in and made a home, with clothing and other personal items. I looked around and there was a guy in a cowboy hat, another one in biker leathers, one guy looked like a preppie from back East, another had on a T-shirt picturing a heavy metal band, another guy came across as a hillbilly. They spent their off hours doing wildly different things. Socially, they didn't pretend to have anything in common. I was dumbfounded by the differences between them.

Though these differences were sharp, they became irrelevant when we were on a mission. When we put on our Ranger uniform and beret and heard Captain Thomas say, "This is your objective," we were a team.

You may wonder if the nature of Ranger training and culture is so powerful that this ability to work together can ever be cultivated in an equally mixed group of coworkers. I see it happen in the LC program all the time. Ranger training and culture in a work environment translate into patterns that are more focused on practical, measurable outcomes than they used to be.

One of my clients, the president of a young software company, had successfully recruited a number of zealots in different fields. The new recruits were almost too successful for their own good.

The code writers wanted to be the best at code. The graphics types wanted to have the best graphics. The hardware guys wanted to have all their equipment in top condition. With all this commitment, one thing undermined their ability to achieve a mission jointly. They failed to consider that the sum of all their efforts is what made the company successful, not the perfection of any one area or department. They needed an operational concept that emphasized their complementary roles so they could say, "It's our 360."

In a similar case, a man starting a new corporate business unit devoted to e-commerce suddenly found himself with a technically proficient work force that couldn't work together. To launch the division quickly, the company literally bought entire companies-including the CEOs-that specialized in the technical areas required for the project. This new Internet commerce group was supposed to combine the strengths of all and give the company an instant market advantage. The new CEO was desperate:

We spend hours in a conference call-hours-and get nothing done. People don't trust each other. They don't understand how we're all  interdependent. They are always protecting their own turf.

So the CEO sent them into the woods with me, about ten at a time. What they discovered about identifying allies applied directly to the workplace. Their story illustrates the universal value of using common goals as a key criterion for knowing who your friends are.

The first group, which described themselves as computer geeks, was mostly composed of senior engineers like Phil-full of resistance and resentment. Phil's distinction was that he found more creative ways than the others to try to escape. He tried to convince us he had allergies to bugs, trees, and the disinfectant in the portable latrines.

One of the others in that group had been the CEO of an acquired company. His "hello" was a confrontation with me: "What are your credentials? What's your background? What the hell can you teach me about e-commerce in these tick-infested woods?"

By behaving the way they did, Phil and the CEO instantly showed some of the same obstructive behavior they exhibited at work. When in doubt, make excuses or get in someone's face, respectively.

Four days of focusing on common missions and fighting clearly identified common enemies opened their eyes to how effectively they could function together. They got accustomed to using communications schemes like SALUTE to share information instead of wasting words with excuses or defiance. They even developed a motto-"Geeks with guns"-that they used as a kind of rallying cry back at work.

The CEO analyzed the success this way:

The experience gave them an enemy that was bigger than all of them-a common apprehension. It was a very leveling experience for all of us. The biggest victory was that the enemy was now outside.

After the program, I asked the CEO how those conference calls were going now. He said that in thirty to forty minutes, they got all kinds of work done:

We're covering each other in a 360, giving information to each other. They had come in with a paradigm that they couldn't learn anything from each other. Now that they've seen the enemy and it isn't any of them, they have a new operational model.

 Taking the 360 Personally

Individuals unified by a specific objective or ideology, even if they represent directly competing companies, recognize each other as "friendlies" and can achieve a 360 naturally.

Consider the product designers and other engineers from different companies who meet bimonthly to develop standards for information technology products so that the products work together. Their mission is to produce technically perfect specifications for hardware and software, so their MODD might be people in their own companies who place more value on products with style than on products that function optimally. In their case, without violating any antitrust laws, they contribute their unique observations or a slice of expertise that equips the whole group with the technical information they need to complete the mission.

Theater often brings dissimilar people with disparate agendas together in the same way. The producer's main concern is ostensibly making money. Actors focus on delivering performances that distinguish them. The director wants the production to reflect her unique touch. And the designers, playwright, and crew have their own motivations for investing their time and talents. But when the quality of the show is their joint mission, they become a team that looks out for each other in myriad ways.

MODD, Allies, and Tools

Although identifying corrupt systems, misinformation, and other inanimate actors as MODD is important, determining which factors contribute substantially to making a situation friendly is of equal importance. When people have the right tools as well as an environment conducive to productivity, they have fewer distractions from their mission-theoretically-and should be better able to function as allies. The mistake that many companies make is that their attempts to create a great workplace confuse the employment of gimmicks with real improvement. High-quality assets such as new computer systems and a positive work environment are supports for teamwork, leadership, and communication, but these tools cannot be expected to be the impetus behind them

Many managers use perks like free doughnuts on Monday morning and pizza and beer on Friday afternoon as ways of energizing their employees and making them feel appreciated. That's recess, not team building. And how many company presidents have honestly expected a jump in productivity when they upgraded the computer system? Putting aside the learning curve associated with new equipment, even the finest technology won't do a good 360 unless the people at the keyboard have a commitment to doing it. If the employees aren't already a team, the perksand physical workplace improvements won't make any difference in their performance as a team. They won't turn MODD into allies.

Idealab, which served as an incubator for several successful technology companies such as Overture and InfoGate, has traditionally given its employees very little in the way of perks but has gotten a huge return from them. With unfinished doors serving as ergonomically incorrect desk tops and warehouse-like rooms used as mass offices, Idealab has relied on the common intent of employees with different backgrounds, training, and even languages to pinpoint unmet market needs and launch companies that meet them. For them, the big MODD was often time. The faster they learned to operate as allies, brainstorm, and plan, the greater chance they had of achieving their corporate mission. In that environment, a lot of typical office perks would just get in the way of progress.

* Exercise *

List five coworkers who are not your friends and meet the following criteria:
  1. They demonstrate commitment to the same corporate goals as you.
  2. They pay attention to timelines; they don't create delays that make it hard for you to do your job.
  3. In good ways, they behave in a predictable fashion. For example, if they say they're going to do something to help, they do it.


Lead the way!



About the author:
Dean Hohl has been leading teams and coaching individuals professionally since 1993. From '88 - '92 Dean served with 3rd Ranger Battalion during which he helped in the removal of Manuel Noriega in 1989 when he parachuted onto a hostile Panamanian airstrip.

He graduated Ranger School with honors earning one of two distinguished "Merrill's Marauders" awards; an award earned only by two each class and chosen by his peer group for demonstrating exceptional teamwork, leadership, and communication under long periods of stress and pressure - often the result of days without food or sleep - throughout the entire 72 day course. Dean completed his Ranger service with honor at the rank of Sergeant.




Warrior's Wisdom
Texas Rancher uses Rattlesnake Logic for Bombing at Boston

Now the news media will spend days trying to determine why these men did what they did in Boston . They will want to know what America did to make these brothers so angry with us. They will want to know why these men were not arrested before they did something unlawful. The media will be in a tizzy about the new era of home grown radicals (jihadist) and about how they could live among us and still hate us.

Here in west Texas , I have rattlesnakes on my place. I have killed a rattlesnake on the front porch. I have killed a rattlesnake on the back porch. I have killed rattlesnakes in the barn, in the shop and on the driveway. I kill every rattlesnake I encounter. I kill rattlesnakes because a rattlesnake will bite me and inflict me with poison. I don't stop to wonder why a rattlesnake will bite me. It will bite me because it is a rattlesnake and that is what rattlesnakes do. I don't try to reason with a rattlesnake...I just kill it.

I don't try to get to know the rattlesnake better so that I can find a way to live with the rattlesnakes and convince them not to bite me...I just kill them. I don't quiz a rattlesnake to see it I can find out where the other snakes are because (a) it won't tell me (b) I already know that they live on my place...I just kill the rattlesnake and move on to the next one. I don't look for ways that I might be able to change the rattlesnake to a non poison rat snake. I just kill it.

Oh, and on occasion I kill a rat snake, because I thought it was a rattlesnake at the time. Also, I know that for every rattlesnake that I kill, two more lurk out there. In my lifetime I will never be able to rid my place of rattlesnakes.

Do I fear them? No! Do I respect what they can do to me? Yes!

And because of that respect I give them their fair justice....I kill them.

Maybe as a country we should give more credit to the jihadist just being a rattlesnake!

By Unkown
Aesop's Fables
The Boasting Traveler
A MAN who had traveled in foreign lands boasted very much, on returning to his own country, of the many wonderful and heroic feats he had performed in the different places he had visited. Among other things, he said that when he was at Rhodes he had leaped to such a distance that no man of his day could leap anywhere near him as to that, there were in Rhodes many persons who saw him do it and whom he could call as witnesses. One of the bystanders interrupted him, saying: "Now, my good man, if this be all true there is no need of witnesses. Suppose this to be Rhodes, and leap for us."


Embroidered Items

Army - Schools

Fire Rescue Dog

Special Forces 
Some People Need Killing

2nd amendment is
my gun permit

Featured T-Shirts
SFG Custom Product Designer - New and Improved!

Death Card

Buy This Shirt >>



 Buy This Shirt >> 





Buy this Shirt >> 


2nd amendment is 
my gun permit  



Special Product Coupon
Free Week 

Get Free Shipping on orders over $150.00 for 1 week of June. Valid from 06/07 to 06/14. Only one use per customer. Exclude MRE's. , Night Vision and Unit Orders.

Use coupon code freeweek

before completing your purchase!

Offer not valid with any other discounts.  

Valid from 06/07/13 - 06/04/13.

Quotes & Jokes
Shopping in Texas?
How do you know you're shopping Texas?

"War is an ugly thing but not the ugliest of things; the decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feelings which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. A man who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself."
--economist John Stuart Mill (1806-1873)

"I love the man that can smile in trouble, that can gather strength from distress, and grow brave by reflection. 'Tis the business of little minds to shrink; but he whose heart is firm, and whose conscience approves his conduct, will pursue his principles unto death."
--Thomas Paine

"O thus be it ever, when free men shall stand; Between their loved homes and war's desolation; Blessed vict'ry and peace, may the heaven rescued land; Praise the power that hath made and preserved as a nation; Then conquer we must when our cause is just; And this be our motto, In God is our Trust."
--Francis Scott Key, "The Star Spangled Banner"

"Where an excess of power prevails, property of no sort is duly
respected. No man is safe in his opinions, his person, his faculties, or
his possessions."
--James Madison

"The only liberty that is valuable is a liberty connected with order;
that not only exists along with order and virtue, but which cannot exist
at all without them. It inheres in good and steady government, as in its
substance and vital principle."
--British statesman Edmund Burke (1729-1797)

"I should like to adopt political doctrines that would live longer than
my dog."
--President James Garfield (1831-1881)

"In questions of power, then, let no more be heard of confidence in man,
but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution."
--Thomas Jefferson

"Honor, justice, and humanity, forbid us tamely to surrender that freedom which we received from our gallant ancestors, and which our innocent posterity have a right to receive from us. We cannot endure the infamy and guilt of resigning succeeding generations to that wretchedness which inevitably awaits them if we basely entail hereditary bondage on them."
--Thomas Jefferson (1775)

The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse."
--James Madison

 "The Founding Fathers established a system which meant a radical break from that which preceded it. A written constitution would provide a permanent form of government, limited in scope, but effective in providing both liberty and order. Government was not to be a matter of self-appointed rulers, governing by whim or harsh ideology. ... To this day, America is still the abiding alternative to tyranny. That is our purpose in the world -- nothing more and nothing less."
 "Without debate, without criticism, no administration and no country can succeed -- and no republic can survive. ... And that is why our press was protected by the First Amendment -- the only business in America specifically protected by the Constitution ... to inform, to arouse, to reflect, to state our dangers and our opportunities, to indicate our crises and our choices, to lead, mold, educate and sometimes even anger public opinion."
--President John F. Kennedy (1917-1963)

"All men having power ought to be distrusted to a certain degree."
 --James Madison

The right of resisting oppression is a natural right."
 --President Andrew Jackson (1767-1845)

"Good people do not need laws to tell them to act responsibly, while bad people will find a way around the laws."
--Greek philosopher Plato (c. 428-348 BC)

"Of those men who have overturned the liberties of republics, the greatest number have begun their career by paying an obsequious court to the people, commencing demagogues and ending tyrants."
 --Alexander Hamilton (1787)

"The time to guard against corruption and tyranny, is before they shall have gotten hold on us. It is better to keep the wolf out of the fold, than to trust to drawing his teeth and talons after he shall have entered."
--Thomas Jefferson (1781)

 Man, once surrendering his reason, has no remaining guard against absurdities the most monstrous, and like a ship without rudder, is the sport of every wind. With such persons, gullibility, which they call faith, takes the helm from the hand of reason and the mind becomes a wreck."
--Thomas Jefferson

A tax supported, compulsory educational system is the complete model of the totalitarian state."
--author Isabel Paterson (1886-1961)

"Our federal tax system is, in short, utterly impossible, utterly unjust and completely counterproductive, [it] reeks with injustice and is fundamentally un-American."  

--President Ronald Reagan (1911-2004)  


"How prone all human institutions have been to decay."

  --James Monroe 

"Consensus: The process of abandoning all beliefs, principles, values, and policies in search of something in which no one believes, but to which no one objects; the process of avoiding the very issues that have to be solved, merely because you cannot get agreement on the way ahead. What great cause would have been fought and won under the banner: 'I stand for consensus?'"

--British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher (1925-2013)


"The gun has been called the great equalizer, meaning that a small person with a gun is equal to a large person, but it is a great equalizer in another way, too. It insures that the people are the equal of their government whenever that government forgets that it is servant and not master of the governed."

--Ronald Reagan 


Off Duty Apparel
Outfitter Long Sleeve Fishing Shirt

Product #D04301





  • 3.5 oz., 70/30 cotton/nylon poplin
  • Four functional utility pockets  
  • Vented mesh lined back with Velcro tab
  • Button tabs for quick adjustment to short sleeves
  • Contrast color double-needle stitching throughout
Click Here to View Item >>    



Code V - Ladies' Camouflage T-Shirt

Product #D058338




She'll never worry about blending into the scenery in this sporty tee, designed to be noticed.

  • 4.0 oz., 100% combed ringspun cotton print fine jersey 
  • Urban Digital and Urban Woodland colors are sewn with 100% cotton thread
  • Topstitched rib collar
  • Taped neck
  • Double-needle stitched sleeves and bottom hem

Click Here to View Item and Full Specifications >>

Product #AT4326



  • Constructed From Tru-Dri™ Plaited Polyester/Cotton Micro Knit Pique Fabric That Creates A Soft, Comfortable Feel That Works Hard Wicking Away Moisture
  • Gusseted Sleeves For Greater Range Of Motion
  • Taped Neck
  • Reinforced Half Moon Neck Yolk
  • Durable Dye To Match Melamine Buttons
  • Mic/Sunglass Holder At Bottom Of 3-Button Placket
  • 2-Pencil Sleeve Pocket
  • Comfortable Soft Knit Collar With No-Curl Inserts
  • Side Vents With Extended Back Length For Easy Movement and To Assist In Keeping The Shirt Tucked
  • Tone On Tone Embroidery
  • Imported
  • White, Black, Navy, Range Red, Silver Tan, Acadamy Blue, Heather Grey, Classic Green

Sizes: XSmall - 5XLarge


Click Here to View Item and Full Specifications >>

US Air Force Military Logo Baseball Jersey - Navy 
Product #RDR29-AIR-NVY



Fully button down military logo baseball jersey with authentic military logo seal patch applique on the arm and applique text design.

Military Baseball jersey.

100% Polyester



Click Here to View Item and Full Specifications >>



Tactical Gear
Response II 8" Steel Toe

Product #MU-5285


  • Action leather / 900 denier nylon upper
  • ASTM-approved steel safety toe
  • Bluecher lacing system
  • Moisture-wicking lining
  • Steel shank
  • Comfort contoured removable sockliner
  • High traction, slip-resistant outsole
  • Magnum style #5285
Omega Elite Phalanx HSV Vest
Product #BH30EV35BK

* Made of heavy-duty nylon mesh for maximum breathability
* Adjustable for length and girth; up to 6" length, add'l 32" girth * Robust drag handle * #10YKK® Vislon® zippers; side release buckles for rapid wear
* Padded HawkTex™ Sniper Shoulders for a fully ambidextrous vest
* Two large internal zippered map pouches
* Interior BLACKHAWK! Hydration™ reservoir pocket (reservoir not included)
* Two M-16/M4 pouches hold 4 magazines (one has a securing cord for a radio)
* Double pistol magazine pouches with adjustable lids
* 14-round shotshell pouch
* Pouches for flashbangs, handcuffs, O.C. spray, and tactical light
* Heavy duty webbing on back for attaching S.T.R.I.K.E.® pouches
* See S.T.R.I.K.E.® section for all pouch options
* Belt loops secure vest to any web belt (not included)
* Includes removable shotshell strip

 Click Here to View Item >>  


GI Navy combat knife
Product #R3281


G.I. Navy Combat Knife   

The Navy issues the G.I. Navy Combat Knife to each SEAL during BUDs as a basic knife. As tough as SEAL training is, you know this knife is one tough product!

The Navy Combat Knife has a 6 inch blade and it 11 inches long overall.

The knife comes with a Black Plastic Scabbard.

 Click Here to View Item >>    


Bear Grylls Ultimate Knife - Fine Edge
Product #SDSGER1063


Built like the Ultimate Knife, this non-serrated version has a fine edge from the tip of the blade to the top of the handle. Using the same high carbon, stainless steel drop point blade and textured rubber handle this is equally tough and unmistakably Bear-inspired. Housed in a nylon and hard rubber military-grade sheath, a fire starter, a diamond knife sharpener and survival guide are all integrated. The lanyard cord contains an emergency whistle. The Ultimate Knife (both serrated and fine edge) is the pinnacle of Bear's signature line.

- Fine Edge Drop Point
- High Carbon Stainless Steel Blade
- Texturized Rubber Handle
- Hard Rubber Military Grade Sheath
- Diamond Knife Sharpener
- Emergency Whistle
- Priorities of Survival Guide

Blade: 4.8
Overall: 10"
Weight: 11.2 oz.



 Click Here to View Item >> 

ONTARIO SP2 Air Force Survival Knife
Product #SHSP2


SPEC PLUS Series knives are designed for military, sporting and rescue use. Features includes: comfortable Kraton handles, epoxy powder coated 1095 carbon steel blades, full tang, combination leather/Cordura® sheaths, landyard and proudly made in the U.S.A. Includes SP1 Leather Cordura Sheath with Tie-down Cord

National Stock Number (NSN)-
Edge TypePlain
Lock TypeFixed
Deployment Mechanism-
Pocket Clip Configurations-
Hardness57-59 HRC
Overall Length10.5 in (27 cm)
Closed Length-
Weight9.0 oz (0.26 kg)
Blade Length5.25 in (13 cm)
Blade Material1095 Carbon Steel
Blade GrindFlat
Blade Angle 
Blade Thickness0.19 in (0.48 cm)
Blade ColorBlack
Blade FinishPowder Coat
Handle ColorBlack
Handle MaterialKraton
Handle Thickness1 in (2.5 cm)
Sheath TypeBelt Loop
Sheath ColorBlack
Sheath MaterialLeather Cordura
Packaging TypeBox + Paper Sheath
Packaged Dimensions14.5 in x 3 in x 2 in (37 cm x 8 cm x 5 cm)
Shipping Weight 
Release Date-
Country of OriginUnited States of America

 Click Here to View Item >>

Bear Grylls Survival Tool Pack
Product #SDSGER1047


This multi-tool pack was designed for survival in the most extreme conditions. Sheathed in a rubberized, locking carrying case that attaches to a belt or backpack strap, it includes a 12 component multi-tool, flashlight and fire starter rod. Every tool in the kit is outfitted with durable rubber handles for easy gripping, even with gloved hands. All of the multi-tool features are locking - needle nose pliers, wire cutters, wood saw, pierce, scissors, partially serrated blade and more. This is the all-weather workhorse of the Bear Grylls line.

- Locking Case
- Attaches to Belt / Backpack Strap
- 12 Components
- Needle Nose Pliers
- Standard Pliers
- File
- Wire Cutters
- Partially Serrated Blade
- Wood Saw
- Small Flathead Driver
- Bottle Open
- Scissors
- Crosshead Driver
- Pierce
- Medium Flathead
- Flashlight
- Firestarter Rod
- Priorities of Survival Guide

Overall: 6"
Closed: 4"
Weight: 11.14 oz.



 Click Here to View Item >>


Outdoor Recreational Gear
Pro Hood Three Piece Camo Scent Control Outfit

Product #AB-CC-PH


Features include: 

  • Slipure Nano Silver technology
  • All in one outfit with Hoodie/ hirt, pants and gloves.
  • Moveable magnetic ear flap design
  • Easy adjust hood, full access to face
  • Won't fog glasses
  • Never loose or forget your hood
  • Magnetic front pocket
  • 6 pocket pants, zipper fly adjustable waist,belt loops & ankle ties   
  • Lightweight and Breathable
  • Polyester Tricot resists snags and tears
  • Used as outerwear or base layer
  • Logo sticker included  

Pro Hood is a patented three (3) piece camo scent control outfit; including the NEW all in one integrated hoodie/shirt with moveable magnetic ear flaps and magnetic front pocket. Deep 6 pocket pants and matching gloves.
Powered by Slipure's Nano Silver technology, the Pro Hood inhibits the growth of odor causing bacteria. Undetectable by sight, smell or touch and no reactivation required, Silpure remains100% effective for 50 washings.

The Pro Hood is lightweight, breathable and comes in 4 sizes- M, L, XL, and XXL. Complete set includes the all in one hoodie/shirt, pants and super lightweight gloves. 


Product #R2365

  • G.I. Style   
  • 78" x 30" x 20" Elevated shelter
  • Mesh netting with camouflage tafetta nylon   
  • Coated roof and heavy canvas floor   
  • Attached ropes and clews

 Click Here to View Item >>  


Product #neo-sb32v

  • Rubber: Comfortable neoprene material.
  • Construction: Glued and sewn seams.
  • Additional Features: Hardened insert sole for puncture resistant protection, adjustable hook & loop arch strap, ankle barrel cinch shock cord, Easy on/Easy off design.

 Click Here to View Item >>    


Product #neo-s805-01


The same qualities that make neoprene a great wetsuit material also make it a great choice for thinner skin style garments. At just 1mm thick, this full length jumpsuit gives divers the stretch and comfort of a quality neoprene along with its natural insulating ability. Available in physique enhancing cuts for both men and women, it has a back-zip for easy self-donning. Excellent as a warm water garment, the Neo Skin is also well suited to layering under thicker suits.




 Click Here to View Item >>

Product #R5459


  • For cold, snowy and wet conditions, these winter boots keep feet warm and dry
  • Thermoblock™ insulated for warmth
  • Durable, waterproofed suede leather uppers offer comfortable protection
  • Eva midsole
  • All seams are taped to ensure waterproofing
  • Thermal rubber outsoles stay pliable and provide traction in cold, wet and snowy conditions
  • 8" height
  • Available in sizes 5-13

 Click Here to View Item >>

Sport Mid Plus
Product #MU-5144


  • Full-grain leather upper
  • Ballistic nylon tongue and collar
  • Speed lacing system
  • 3D2 comfort contoured sockliner
  • High-traction carbon rubber outsole
  • Magnum style #5144



 Click Here to View Item >>


Featured Watch
HUMVEE Recon Watch 

Product #FX38-440





Scratch Resistant Face Display, electronic face glow light. Water resistant to 50 meters, rugged shock resistant body. 12/24 hour time-date, world time (22 Cities). 3 alarms, chronograph with 20 laps recorded, countdown, stop timer, 1 year warranty.



Black out of stock ETA  May 17-13


Econ 101

Special Product Coupon
Summer Savings

Get 10% discount on orders over $50, during the month of June.

Use coupon code summersave  

before completing your purchase!

Excludes night vision and spy gear.

Offer not valid with any other discounts.  

Valid from 05/01/13 - 05/31/13.


What Has Really Changed?

(Who profits most from profit?)

 Did the Liberals save millions of American women from back breaking work by inventing the vacuum cleaner and washing machine - or was it businessmen looking for profit?

Did union leaders create modern life-giving drugs, or was it businesses in search of profit?

Is it government bureaucracy or profit-seeking corporations which generate the millions of American jobs paying the highest wages in the world?

Was it the Welfare State or men who wanted to become millionaires who developed the automobile and the hundreds of jobs which followed?
When those who criticize and attack profit can equal this record for their country, it will be time to listen to them.

But not until.


Maj. Robert Furman: A Spook in the Pentagon

Robert Furman worked on the construction of the Pentagon and was later part of the Manhattan Project. DoD photo

Sometime in 1943, not long after construction of the Pentagon had been completed and the great building first opened its doors for business, reports of a ghost began circulating among the military and civilian personnel working there. But it wasn't just any ghost. It was a U.S. Army major who seemed to suddenly pop out of a wall in one of the large bays where the Army's Ordnance Division had its offices. One minute there would be no one there and then a second later, there he was, hurrying past the rows of desks like he belonged there, but avoiding eye contact and then turning and disappearing into the stream of people walking along outside corridor. Weeks might go by without a sign of him, then he'd suddenly pop out of the wall again, sometimes with a bag in hand, and before anyone could ask him who he was and what he was doing there, he'd be gone.


It wasn't difficult for people to accept that he might just actually be a ghost. After all, great buildings do have a way of attracting a ghost or two under its eaves, and even if the Pentagon was, at that point, not even a year old, it was already iconic. Besides, it was no secret that more than a few lives had been lost during its construction. Most were workmen, but no reason it could not have also included one or two of the hundreds of officers from the Army Corps of Engineers who oversaw every facet of the Pentagon's construction. Perhaps the ghost officer might be one of them.


Then one day, the ghost was spotted again, but this time, instead of giving everyone the slip, they caught him. He wasn't a ghost at all, but a major in the Corps of Engineers named Robert Furman, and he had a secret. Even though Furman officially had no business even being inside the building, he had something nobody else inside the Pentagon had. He had his very own secret "pad" hidden there inside the walls.


Pentagon construction underway, July 1, 1942. Robert Furman, who served as a key supervisor during the construction of the Pentagon, had a secret apartment constructed within the Pentagon that he later used when he stayed in Washington, D.C. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers photo
Furman explained that two years earlier he had been a deputy of Gen. Leslie R. Groves, the man who'd been in charge of the Pentagon's construction. They all knew about Groves, the man who, with a massive army of workmen and construction equipment, took a large worthless tract of tidewater swampland and in a little over a year's time, built the world's largest office building on it. Groves was a legend.

But Groves had not been an easy man to work for. He was a notoriously exacting, hard driver who ran through subordinates at a fearful rate, firing those who didn't perform and replacing them until he found ones that did. Furman was one of the few who actually seemed to thrive under Grove and soon became his Number Three. The Pentagon's construction went on non-stop,, with three eight-hour shifts that each employed thousands of laborers. Furman was there at all hours, especially during night shifts, checking to make sure the people clocked in were actually working. The ones he caught loafing and getting drunk were fired on the spot. In fact, Furman might well have been responsible for firing Jack Kerouac, the future author of On the Road, who briefly worked there manning a wheelbarrow.

Even though Furman was billeted only a few miles away in Washington, D.C. he'd go days without leaving the work site. Rather than be unnecessarily away, he had a small, windowless apartment built inside the building, between the walls. There he and other officers could catch a few hours sleep, shower, and be back on the job, which it seemed was all the time.

But of course, as these things often do, once construction got completed, the men involved in building the Pentagon moved on to other projects. But when they did, knowledge of the hidden apartment somehow failed to get passed on to the building's new management. When his new job sent Furman back to the Pentagon for some meetings, he was surprised to find the apartment undiscovered and exactly as he'd left it.  Since his work regularly brought him to Washington, rather than have to deal with the city's notorious shortage of hotel rooms, Furman simply started sneaking back to the Ordnance Bay, waiting till no one was looking, then popping open the wall panel just enough to slip inside his pad, spending the night, and slipping out again in the morning.

Furman's captors made him hand over the keys to his secret apartment. After that they let him go, giving him the stern warning not to show his face back there unless it was on official business. Doubtless, Furman's ears burned a little getting caught and treated like that, but on another level it probably amused him no end. Maj. Robert Furman was a man of many secrets, and the one he'd just given up was by far of the least consequence.

Then-Maj. Gen. Leslie Groves had a reputation as an exacting boss during the construction of the Pentagon and during the Manhattan Project. Los Alamos National Laboratory photo
What his captors never learned was that, while Furman might not have been a ghost, what he actually was, to use the parlance of later decades, was a "spook." His wartime exploits were among the most incredible ones of World War II.

Groves had accepted the Pentagon assignment on the promise that once it was completed he'd be given a combat command. But the War Department was so impressed by his performance managing such a complex and demanding project that they immediately reneged on their promise and handed him an even more difficult and critical task. But it was so secret that they wouldn't provide any details of what it involved until he accepted the assignment and was sworn into office. That was when Groves learned he was in charge of something called the Manhattan Project, which involved developing and building an atomic bomb. They had to build it using tens of thousands of workers, the vast majority of whom had absolutely no idea what the point of any of their activities would be, and they had to get it built before the Nazis finished the one that they also were most certainly building, though no one actually knew for sure.

Once Groves accepted the job, he immediately brought Furman aboard as his head of foreign intelligence, and ordered him to use any and every means to find out exactly how far along the Germans were in their nuclear bomb project. For that reason, Furman had spent months traveling back and forth all over the country visiting research laboratories and universities in order to meet with scientists and pick their brains about what their German counterparts might be working on. His travels routinely brought him to Washington, a wartime capital already notorious for its lack of hotel rooms, which was why Furman kept returning to his secret bachelor pad.

Not long after, Furman went overseas in order to get closer to the enemy. At one point he directed Swiss agents to take water samples from different spots on the upper Rhine and Lake Constance to check for evidence of the heavy water used in German nuclear research. On another occasion he sent the legendary Jewish-American spy, polymath and former major league ballplayer Moe Berg to a physics conference in Zurich, Switzerland in order to buttonhole German nuclear physicist Werner Heisenberg and find out how far the German nuclear effort was progressing. If it was two years ahead of the American program, as Furman feared, Berg was instructed to kill Heisenberg on the spot. Luckily for Heisenberg, Berg quickly determined that the Nazi bomb was lagging at least two years behind the Americans.

Following the Allied invasion of France in 1944, Furman and his agents traveled with the Allied armies, racing across France and into Germany in search of German nuclear scientists and German nuclear technology. In Belgium he came under sniper fire while looking for uranium. In Toulouse, he found 31 tons of it, which he had sent back to Los Alamos. When he found Heisenberg and a group of his colleagues, Furman had them all arrested and hidden away in a special prison facility, where he hoped the Russians could not find them and where they could consider, at their leisure, the advantages of lending their talents to the American effort.

The mushroom cloud billowing 20,000 feet above Hiroshima after the dropping of the first Atomic bomb by the Enola Gay, Aug. 6, 1945. Robert Furman was one of the few people who knew what was about to happen when the Enola Gay took off from Tinian. National Archives photo
Back in Los Alamos following the German surrender, Groves ordered Furman to escort some of the processed uranium to Tinian Island in the Pacific, where it'd be loaded aboard the atomic bombs being assembled there. Furman and his cargo traveled aboard the ill-fated cruiser USS Indianapolis, which, four days after unloading its secret cargo, was torpedoed and sunk with the loss of more than 800 men. Furman was one of the very few who watched the Enola Gay take off for Hiroshima, fully aware of what was going to happen.

After the war, Furman returned to civilian life. He settled in Bethesda, Md. and set up a construction company that built everything from single-family homes to churches and overseas American embassies. He married and raised a family, joined the local Rotary, stayed active in the Episcopal Church and sang baritone in a barbershop quartet. Though he was proud of his wartime experience, he never talked about it. It was only much later, toward the end of his life, that Furman realized that unless he told the story, several of the more fascinating and colorful chapters of World War II would pass forgotten into history. He started talking publicly about it. Shortly before his death in 2008, he even led a group of reporters and news camera crews back to the Pentagon where he gave them a guided tour, visiting his old offices and telling them stories about Gen. Leslie Groves and its amazing feat of construction. While he was surprised at how little the inside of the building had changed in the nearly sixty years since he'd last been there, of his secret wartime hideaway, he could find no trace at all.

U.S. Navy UAV Developments Accelerate
Part 1
An MQ-8B Fire Scout in flight near Naval Air Station Mayport, Fla. during USS Klakring (FFG 42) pre-deployment workups in May 2012. U.S. Navy photo by Erik Hildebrandt

It's a matter of historical record that the Royal Navy's first aircraft carrier, HMS Argus, was fully operational for more than four years before the U.S. Navy's first flattop, USS Langley (CV 1), was commissioned and landing its first experimental aircraft. Nevertheless, the U.S. Navy had more than 100 aircraft carriers in commission by the end of World War II, more than the rest of the world combined. The Navy may sometimes be slow to embrace new technologies, tactics, and ideas, but when they finally do, they usually do so in a big and quantitative way. So has it been with Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), which have not been in the U.S. fleet in significant numbers since the retirement of the QH-50D DASH (Drone Anti-Submarine Helicopter). It's been almost a dozen years since the first CIA and U.S. Air Force MQ-1 Predator drones began to rain AGM-114 Hellfire missiles down onto Taliban and al Qaeda targets in Afghanistan. Now it's beginning to look like Fiscal Year 2013 is when the U.S. Navy is going to fully embrace UAVs, and get ready to send them out to the fleet.

Two of the four Fire Scouts embarked on USS Klakring (FFG 42) prepare for deployment in June 2012. With a record number of unmanned helicopters aboard Klakring, Fire Scout regularly maintained 12-hour days on station, regularly switching aircraft to provide continuous and thorough support. U.S. Navy photo by Erik Hildebrandt
In late 2012, the Navy began the process of permanently bringing UAVs into the fleet with the establishment of Unmanned Helicopter Reconnaissance Squadron One (HUQ-1 - "The Hydras") at Naval Air Station (NAS) North Island, Calif. on Oct. 1, 2012. HUQ-1's mission is to act as the Fleet Readiness Squadron (FRS - What in days-gone-by was known as a Replacement Air Group or "RAG") to train and qualify pilots and operators for what the Navy calls the "Vertical Take-Off and Landing Tactical Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (VTUAV)" community. In addition, HUQ-1 will provide MQ-8B detachments (2-4 aircraft per detachment, with 28 airframes assigned) for deploying West Coast fleet units Finally, HUQ-1 will provide the same services and missions when the new MQ-8C Fire-X UAV comes online in 2014.

Previously, deployed detachments of Fire Scouts have primarily been based out of NAS Jacksonville, Fla., built around Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron Light (HSL) 42 (Now Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron 42 (HMM-42) due to their transition from the SH-60B variant of the Seahawk to the SH-60R) and HSL-60. Over the past few years, a number of MQ-8B detachments assigned to Naval Station Mayport-based surface ships have made operational test and combat deployments aboard the frigates USS McInerney (FFG 8), Halyburton (FFG 40) and Simpson (FFG 56). These deployments have included combat Intelligence, Reconnaissance, and Surveillance (ISR) missions over Libya during Operation Unified Protector, counter narcotics patrols with SOUTHCOM and counter-piracy operational support in the Red Sea and off of Somalia.

U.S. Navy operators use the Fire Scout simulator at a new training facility established at Naval Air Station Jacksonville, Fla., on July 10, 2012. The training center offers improved flight simulators, hands-on aircraft maintenance and classroom instruction. Northrop Grumman photo by Stephen Potter
The creation of HUQ-1, however, is a direct response to the Obama Administration's "Pivot to the Pacific" initiative to shift America's military forces to a primary focus on East Asian operations. So the stand-up of HUQ-1 is far more than just standing up a new helicopter squadron. In a time when the entire U.S. military is drawing down and demobilizing units, the fact that the U.S. Navy is creating new squadrons specifically for UAVs is a really important development. Another sign of the Navy's growing support for operational UAV units has been the establishment of a new MQ-8 training facility at NAS Jacksonville, Fla., to provide trained personnel for East Coast Fire Scout appointments. It is entirely likely that the Navy will make this the basis of an East Coast squadron, similar to HUQ-1, some time in the next several years. However, VTUAV UAVs are not the only unmanned aircraft that will be joining the fleet in the next decade.

The MQ-4C Triton's, formerly known as BAMS UAS, first test aircraft prepares for upcoming test phase in June 2012 at Northrop Grumman's facility in Palmdale, Calif. Northrop Grumman photo
The Maritime Patrol (VP) community has been reborn since 9/11, finding a vast array of roles and missions in the fight against terrorism across the globe. In response, the Navy is providing the VP community with a pair of new, state-of-the-art airframes. Entering service by the end of this decade will be the P-8A Poseidon patrol plane (based on the Boeing 737 airframe) and the MQ-4C Triton Maritime Surveillance UAV (previously known as the Broad Area Maritime Surveillance, or BAMS, program. As part of this VP community build up, the U.S. Navy is indicating that it will likely form two dedicated UAV squadrons at NAS Whidbey Island, Wash. and NAS Jacksonville to train, qualify, and form detachments for forward deployment of the MQ-4C Triton. These units would perform many of the same tasks as HUQ-1, and are likely to represent the way the Navy is likely to bring new UAV types into service in the coming years.

What is described above is just the tip of the iceberg of what the U.S. Navy is doing to bring UAV technology in the fleet. UAVs are just like any other naval aircraft, requiring special features, materials, and structures suited to the arduous maritime environment in which the fleet works in. In future articles, we will show some of the new U.S. Navy UAVs in greater detail, and provide some sense of the roles and missions they will fulfill.

Bell V-280 Valor Spotlighted at SOFIC

The Bell V-280 Valor is a new tilt rotor design that Bell Helicopter says will providing transformational speed, agility, and operational range. Bell Helicopter rendering

Bell Helicopter has begun placing the spotlight on a new vertical lift platform design, dubbed the V-280 Valor. Similar in concept and range to the V-22, the V-280 targets the new Joint Multi Role (JMR) application. One of the most recent venues for the program spotlight was the Special Operations Forces Industry Conference (SOFIC), held in Tampa, Fla., in mid-May.

"It is our new 'clean sheet' design aircraft," explained Chris Gehler, business development manager for future vertical lift at Bell Helicopter. "It doesn't happen very often that the Department of Defense asks for a completely new aircraft design, so we are working with the Army's Aviation Applied Technology Directorate on this - our candidate for the Joint Multi Role Technology Demonstrator. And the V-280 is our offering for that effort."

"Essentially what the Army was looking for as they sent out the [JMR TD] announcement was speed," Gehler said. "Originally they had said 170 knots, which is really at the edge of conventional helicopters. I think as the Army looked at it more it determined that it would really ask industry to push technology boundaries a little bit as we look forward. So at the final release it was 230 knots 'plus' that they were asking for. So, because the Army has determined through their analysis that speed is going to be the biggest thing, that's going to change how commanders think on the battlefield."

The Bell V-280 Valor is Bell Helicopter's new vertical lift platform, a tilt rotor that is designed to have a range that will enable a reduced deployed force structure. Bell Helicopter rendering
Gehler said that the V-280 name of the platforms comes from its vertical lift and 280 knot cruise speed, adding, "We can go over 300 knots but will cruise at 280. And 'Valor' is really a tribute to the people serving in our Armed Forces today."

The V-280 fuselage element appears similar to the current UH-60 series Black Hawk with a V-tail. The design includes a large wing with rotating prop rotors and non-rotating engine. A drive-shaft runs through the straight wing, allowing both prop rotors to be driven by a single engine in the event of engine loss.

"The Army doesn't have any problem with the fuselage of the current medium lift aircraft," Gehler asserted. "Instead they have said that they can't continue to incrementally upgrade and improve aircraft 'at the margins.' So what they are really looking to do is turn to a clean sheet that will provide a leap ahead in capability. So the leap ahead in capability that they're really looking for is in the areas of speed, as I mentioned, as well as range, and high/hot hover capability. And really that's what we have designed this aircraft to do."

"This aircraft is designed to be a very good 'hover' machine - 6K [altitude] / 95 [degrees F] high / hot hover performance with payload." he added. "It's also very nimble. We have spent a lot of time with the technology in things like the prop rotors plus fly-by-wire technology that lets you do things that you can't do with mechanical linkages; really providing very good and responsive control power in the mountains. And then when you rotate the nacelles forward you're on the way with the benefit of the speed that this aircraft provides."

Additional design features include dual cargo hooks that allow the lift of an M777A2 howitzer at approximately 10,000 pounds.

"So it's got the payload capability to do that and the range to actually take it somewhere," Gehler said, acknowledging that a payload of that weight would reduce aircraft speed to something on the order of 150 knots.

The Bell V-280 Valor is designed to have large side doors so soldiers can get on and off rapidly, rotor height will mean they won't have to worry about where the rotors are. Bell Helicopter rendering
Reiterating that "the engine does not move" in the current V-280 design, he noted that "in our previous versions the engine and transmission was all in one nacelle that would rotate. In the case of the V-22, the Army started it and the Marine Corps really took it over, so we had to redesign aspects to meet the Marine Corps mission. In the case of a 'clean sheet' design we can take all the good things we have on the V-22 and bring that over into the V-280, but keeping in mind exactly what the Army wants to do."

He outlined many of the features designed to meet Army needs, including an assault platform with large side doors that allow soldiers to run off and on easily while providing door gunners with great visibility and large fields of fire.

"And with the fixed engines and the prop rotors on top it creates a very open space underneath the wings to do that," he noted. "With a Black Hawk you've always got to worry about where the rotor is. But the V-280 wing is more than 7 feet high - that lets warfighters just run on and off the aircraft. They can do it at a sprint instead of getting off and 'going to ground' because of what the aircraft is about to do."

"Our design is also without the side external fuel tanks, where soldiers just can't get out of the airplane easily," he continued. "With the V-280 most of the fuel is in the wing. There is a little 'up in the top,' but not much. And in a self-deployment configuration you can put in fuel bags that will allow Valor to go over 2,100 nautical miles - so it has the range for 'trans oceanic' types of things. We can self-deploy basically anywhere in the world with few gas stops. And with that speed you can do that in a couple of days to link up with the assault force coming in on C-17s."

Although the initial design is based on a utility configuration, some concept work has already been done on an attack configuration of the V-280.

Bell Helicopter envisions the potential for armed variants of their V-280 Valor. Bell Helicopter rendering
Asked about partners and teaming arrangements on the V-280, Gehler responded, "We have not announced who our partners are yet. We are about to do that very soon. But once we announce who our partners are I think the Army will feel very comfortable with some of the largest names in the defense contracting business that we have teamed up with. It will probably be announced in June. We've been holding off on that a little bit as we continue to work some details on a few things. There are some 'major teammates' and then we have a lot of other teammates that are also on board."

Although Bell Helicopter is still teamed with Boeing on the V-22, Boeing and Sikorsky have teamed up on an "X2" -based rotorcraft design for JMR.

"Bell made a strategic decision to be the lead in tilt-rotor going forward," Gehler said. "We are a 50/50 partnership on V-22 but we will be the prime going forward on this airplane, supported by some great teammates who will bring a lot to this aircraft as well."

The Girandoni Air Rifle
A weapon ahead of its time?

The Lewis and Clark Expedition as depicted in a painting by Newman Myrah entitled "Bartering Blue Beads for Otter Robe". A Girandoni Air Rifle was taken on the expedition and greatly impressed the Native Americans. Painting courtesy of the U.S. Army

The alpine region of Tyrol, a borderland between Italians and Germans, has long bred skillful hunters and tough mountain warriors. Around 1778, a Tyrolean master gunsmith, Bartolomeo Girandoni (1729-1799), invented the Girandoni air rifle, which attracted the attention of Joseph II, the Austrian emperor.

Air rifles had been used since the 16th century, mainly to hunt small game. They were a favorite of poachers, because the lack of noise and smoke meant they could be used covertly.

Girandoni's extraordinary design had two innovations that made it a formidable military weapon, rather than a sporting gun for wealthy nobles. First, it was a breech-loader, with a 20-round tubular magazine fixed alongside the barrel. To load the weapon, the user simply elevated the muzzle and pressed a spring-loaded slider, which picked up a ball and snapped it into place. To reload the magazine, the user opened a plug at the front of the magazine and emptied the contents of a "speed loader" into it. Second, it used very high pressure: 800 psi (54.4 atmospheres, or 5515.8 kPa) held in a riveted sheet-iron pressure flask that formed the weapon's butt-stock. A fully-charged pressure flask was good for up to 80 shots.

The Girandoni air rifle was an innovative design that was ahead of its time. National Firearms Museum photo
The weapon's advantages included a high rate of fire, no smoke, relatively low recoil, and less noise than a musket. With no black powder residue to foul the bore, it needed less cleaning. Shooters could load and fire while lying flat.

But there were significant disadvantages: The mechanism was complex and fragile. Like most rifles of the era, it was too fragile to mount a bayonet. It took 1,500 strokes on a hand pump (similar to a modern bicycle pump) to charge the air cylinder. The weapon became useless if the pump were lost or damaged. But above all, the Girandoni was simply incompatible with the tactical doctrine of the era. As much as weapons or terrain, doctrine shapes the behavior of armies.

In the late 18th century, black powder rifles were precision sniper weapons. In battle riflemen targeted aristocratic officers, conspicuous in their gaudy uniforms. The officers found the whole idea repugnant, and unsporting. Brave soldiers stood up in the open and traded musket volleys at point-blank range. Napoleon Bonaparte actually disbanded the French army's rifle units in 1807, because he considered rifles too expensive, and too slow to load and fire.

Issued to a few units of Tyrolean sharpshooters, the Girandoni served in combat against the Turks, but apparently never in Austria's Napoleonic wars.  By 1815, it was withdrawn from service. Around 1803, one of these weapons wound up in Philadelphia, Penn. An aide to President Thomas Jefferson, Capt. Meriwether Lewis (1774-1809) acquired the piece. When Jefferson sent an expedition to explore the newly purchased Louisiana Territory, Lewis took the Girandoni along, to impress the native tribes he encountered. This is mentioned repeatedly in the journals of Lewis and Clark.

"My Air-gun...astonishes them very much, they cannot comprehend it's shooting so often and without powder..."
-Meriwether Lewis Jan. 24, 1806

Somehow, this air rifle survived, and was eventually purchased by a collector. A gunsmith was commissioned to make some high-quality replicas. When the weapon was disassembled, he found that the main spring had been repaired exactly as described in the journals of Lewis and Clark. This historic weapon is now on loan to the museum of the National Rifle Association in Fairfax, Va.

The Girandoni air rifle is a might-have been; a footnote to military history. Each one was hand-crafted by master gunsmiths, making them very costly. Probably no more than 1,500 were ever built. Some of the materials and techniques used were carefully guarded "trade secrets" that died with the craftsmen.

The Girandoni Air Rifle on display at The National Firearms Museum. National Firearms Museum photo
At the very same time that the Austrian army was struggling to keep the Girandonis in repair, an American inventor, Eli Whitney (1765-1825) was trying to manufacture muskets with moving parts machined so precisely that they would be "interchangeable" between weapons of the same type. It was a revolutionary idea in a world where every complex mechanism was individually filed and ground to fit. The development of precision machine tools and gauges in the early 19th century had not progressed far enough to make Whitney's dream a reality until after his death. If Girandoni's brilliant design had connected with Whitney's interchangeable parts, armies equipped with mass-produced smokeless magazine rifles would have been quickly forced to adapt their tactics and doctrine, and subsequent history might have taken a very different path.

Caliber: .462 in  (11.68mm)
Muzzle velocity: 500 fps (152 m/s)
Weight: 10 pounds  (4.5 kg)
Length: 48 inches (1.2 m)
Magazine capacity: 22 rounds
Effective range: 150 yards  (137 m)

"At ... 50 feet, (15 meters) ... capable of placing ten shots into a group the size of a quarter."

Tuskegee Airmen in Operation Corkscrew
Air power conquers Pantelleria

The first class of black pilots completed pilot training on March 6, 1942, at Tuskegee Army Air Field, in Tuskegee, Ala. Of the 13 original cadets, five graduated (from left): Capt. Benjamin O. Davis Jr., 2nd Lt. Lemuel R. Custis, 2nd Lt. George S. Roberts, 2nd Lt. Charles H. DeBow and 2nd Lt. Mac Ross. U.S. Air Force Historical Research Agency photo

Pantelleria and Lampedusa, two islands located about 50 miles off the Tunisian coast, were strategically located in the middle of the intended path of the Allied fleet for Operation Husky, the invasion of Sicily. Pantelleria was garrisoned by an estimated 10,000 to 12,000 Axis troops, mostly Italian, and was home to radar stations that tracked Allied ship and air traffic. Its defenses included 15 battalions of coastal guns, pillboxes, and other defensive works. Allied Supreme Commander Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower had long been an advocate of seizing the two islands, stating that if "left in the enemy hands, they would be a serious menace; secure in our hands they would be a most valuable asset." The "asset" was Pantelleria's airfield, the only one close enough and large enough to accommodate the five squadrons of short-range Allied fighters needed for close air support for the invasion. Eisenhower initially encountered resistance from his British senior subordinate commanders, who felt that defenses on Pantelleria were so strong that assaulting forces ran a serious risk of failure. But Eisenhower insisted, assigning Lt. Gen. Carl "Tooey" Spaatz, commander of Northwest African Air Forces, "with the mission to reduce the island's defenses to such a point that a landing would be uncontested," making Pantelleria "a sort of laboratory to determine the effect of concentrated heavy bombing on a defended coastline."

"It was the first defended position in the history of warfare to be defeated by the application of air power alone."
- Lt. Gen. Benjamin O. Davis Jr.

Code named Operation Corkscrew, the air offensive kicked off on May 18, 1943. From then until the invasion date of June 11, the island came under constant air attack from heavy and medium bombers and fighter-bombers.

Tuskegee Airmen, Class 42-I. (left to right) Nathaniel Hill; Marshall Cabiness; Herman "Ace" Lawson; William T Mattison; John Gibson; Elwood T. Driver; Price D. Rice; and Andrew "Jug" Turner pose in front of a P-40 Warhawk, circa May 1942 to August 1943. Tuskegee Airmen Facebook page photo
One of the squadrons flying missions to Pantelleria was the 99th Fighter Squadron, commanded by Lt. Col. Benjamin O. Davis Jr., the son of the nation's first African-American general, the first squadron of African-American pilots of the "Tuskegee Experiment" program to see action in the war. The squadron arrived in Morocco on May 1, 1943. As this was a time of Jim Crow in the United States, the pilots and ground crew encountered the indignities and slights of segregation and racism they had experienced back home. But one pleasant surprise was Col. Philip "Flip" Cochran, the inspiration for cartoonist Milton Caniff's hero Flip Corkin in the syndicated newspaper strip Terry and the Pirates and later co-commander of the 1st Air Commando Group, who enthusiastically went out of his way to give the pilots combat training. Lt. Spann Watson remembered Cochran as "a great guy" and said, "Cochran helped the 99th learn how to fight." Davis added his praise, noting, "We all caught [Cochran's] remarkable fighting spirit and learned a great deal from him about the fine points of aerial combat."

Pantelleria would be the 99th's baptism of fire. The squadron averaged two missions a day. In addition to escorting bombers, the pilots also conducted dive-bombing and strafing missions. Though the pilots did not shoot down any enemy planes, they did damage several, and were successful in driving away air attacks on the bombers - which suffered minimal or no losses, a foretaste of defensive tactics that would define the Tuskegee Airmen's reputation in the war.

In the three-week air campaign, 6,400 tons of bombs were dropped on targets on Pantelleria. On June 11, assault craft carrying troops from the British 1st Division headed toward Pantelleria's beaches. But, contrary to British predictions of beaches bathed in blood, before the troops could land, the Italian governor capitulated. The garrison on Lampedusa surrendered the next day. The only casualty was a soldier bitten by a mule.

The island of Pantelleria in the Mediterranean, wreathed in smoke from bursting bombs during the Allied bombardment of June 1943. Capture of the island was a vital precursor to the invasion of Sicily in July. Imperial War Museum photo
The swift fall of the islands went straight to the heads of some senior strategic air commanders, who now believed air power alone could change the course of the war. Spaatz went so far as to claim "the application of air [power] available to us can reduce to the point of surrender any first-class nation now in existence, within six months from the time that pressure is applied."

For the 99th, Corkin's training assistance had a payoff beyond the battlefield. Following the surrender of Pantelleria, Davis received a message from area commander Col. J. R. Watkins: "I wish to extend to you and the members of the squadron my heartiest congratulations for the splendid part you played in the Pantelleria show. You have met the challenge of the enemy and have come out of your initial christening into battle stronger qualified than ever. Your people have borne up well under battle conditions and there is every reason to believe that with more experience you will take your place in the battle line along with the best of them."

Davis would have a long and distinguished career in the Air Force, retiring in 1970 with the rank of lieutenant general. In 1998, he was advanced to the rank of general (retired list). He died in 2002.

JSOC and the Hunt for Abu Musab al-Zarqawi:
The End Game

Abu Musab al-Zarqawi shortly after his death in a U.S. airstrike on June 7, 2006. DoD photo

On Feb. 22, 2006, the Askaria shrine in Samarra, nicknamed the Golden Mosque for its glistening dome and one of Shiism's holiest sites, was destroyed by bombs planted by the Al Qaeda in Iraq terrorist organization. In response, furious Shiites began organizing militias, who then embarked on a systematic, cold-blooded sectarian killing spree through Sunni neighborhoods, who organized similar militias in self-defense. If Lt. Gen. Stanley McChrystal, commander of Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), couldn't find and eliminate Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and his network, the likelihood of Iraq plunging into all-out sectarian war would become a frightening reality.

Rubble and debris litter the site of the last safe house of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi in Hibhib, Iraq. The top insurgent target in Iraq, along with several of his associates, was killed during an airstrike on the house June 7, 2006. U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Zach Mott, 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division Public Affairs Office
Not long after he became JSOC commander in 2003, McChrystal recognized that the traditional compartmentalization between the services and agencies tasked with the gathering of counter-terrorism intelligence was counter-productive. In Iraq's rapidly changing environment, such bureaucratic turf protecting had to be changed. As McChrystal wrote in his memoir, My Share of the Task, "It required turning a hierarchical force with stubborn habits of insularity into one whose success relied on reflexive sharing of information and a pace of operations that could feel more frenetic than deliberate." In short, he took a chapter from the terrorists' handbook and create a counter-terrorist network as nimble and as opportunistic and the quarry he was hunting.

In July 2004 JSOC set up a secure intelligence center at a former Iraqi air base in Balad, about fifty miles north of Baghdad. There JSOC requisitioned a hangar and instead of installing a warren of cubicles, only a few offices were created along the hangar's walls. Work was done out in the open on long tables within the hangar's cavernous enclosure, and the free flow of information was encouraged between those cleared to work there. At the same time, field operations were restructured to make rapid response a top priority.

The breakthrough in the hunt for al-Zarqawi came on May 18, 2006. An interrogation report of a detainee contained detailed information about Zarqawi's spiritual advisor, Shiekh Abd al-Rahman, including his Baghdad address, and that he regularly visited Zarqawi every seven to ten days.

An around-the-clock watch of Rahman's home by reconnaissance drones was instituted and every aspect of his movements tracked and recorded. As days became weeks, pressure began building to make a move on Rahman.

Felled palm trees and rubble fill the crater of the former safe house of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi in Hibhib, Iraq. An airstrike to the house killed al-Zarqawi and a group of his associates June 7, 2006. U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Zach Mott, 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division Public Affairs Office
On the morning of June 7, 2006, an operator observed al-Rahman's car on a major highway heading north out of Baghdad. At one point the car pulled off to the side of the road. Al-Rahman exited and transferred to an approaching truck. Alerts went out to other members of the team. At Baqubah, al-Rahman transferred to a white pickup with a red stripe that drove him to a box-like two-story house near the town of Hibhib. Shortly after 5 p.m. an operator watching the video feed from a drone called out. A heavyset man dressed in black was observed checking traffic on the frontage road before returning to the house.

"That's [al-Zarqawi]," McChrystal said. When a ground assault was judged not feasible, the decision was made to have F-16s bomb the house. A special operations team would land immediately afterword to retrieve the bodies and gather intelligence.

With time now of the essence, things threatened to spin out of control. The engines on one of the mission's two Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC) helicopters refused to start. A replacement wouldn't arrive for thirty minutes. The working helicopter was ordered airborne, the second to follow as soon as it could. Then when the JTAC relayed the strike order to two F-16s in the area, only one was available. The other was conducting a mid-flight refueling. The lone F-16 was ordered in.

In its first pass over the target, the F-16 simply flew over the house. The order had been improperly worded; the pilot had not dropped his bombs. The change was made, and on the second pass, the target was destroyed.

U.S. Air Strike on Al-Zarqawi
U.S. Air Strike on Al-Zarqawi

The special operations ground team arrived as Iraqi police were putting a body into an ambulance. The team took control of the ambulance and retrieved the mortally wounded al-Zarqawi, who died a few minutes later. His body and that of Abd al-Rahman were airlifted back to JSOC headquarters.

On June 8, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki held a press conference announcing al-Zarqawi's death. Coalition commander Gen. George Casey noted, "Although the designated leader of Al Qaeda in Iraq is now dead, the terrorist organization still poses a threat." The words were prophetic, for the summer of 2006 would see a rise in Iraqi bloodshed. But with Al Qaeda in Iraq's charismatic leader gone, eventually, the killing began to recede.

About Us
About Us

Thanks for reading our newsletter - if your friends want to subscribe, point them to http://www.specialforces.com/ or click here to forward this email to a friend.  




Dave Thomas

Special Forces Gear

Special Forces Gear